K rock Football

Papley’s commitment welcomed

Tom Papley in action during the 2019 season. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

SYDNEY coach John Longmire has lauded Tom Papley after the small forward committed to staying at the Swans beyond this AFL season.

Papley requested a trade to Carlton last season and while the Blues were unable to complete a deal to bring the contracted forward back to Victoria, he was expected to again attract suitors this year.

But on Tuesday, Papley confirmed he planned to stay at Sydney – where he is contracted until 2023 – beyond this season.

“I knew a couple of weeks ago (that Papley would stay) and Tom’s been terrific,” Longmire said on Wednesday.

“He’s such an important player for us, not only on the field.

“Everyone sees what he gives us on the ground, whether it’s goals, goal assists, pressure – or just enthusiasm and energy on the ground.

“The other stuff he does off the ground as well – he drives the group really strongly.

“For a young player who’s so invested in other young players, to be able to have him as part of our team is very important and it gives some certainty going into the off-season and he’s just a wonderful young fella.”

Papley has enjoyed a stellar 2020 season and is widely tipped to feature in this year’s All-Australian team.

The 24-year-old has played all 16 of Sydney’s games this season, booting 24 goals – with 21 coming in his first 10 games.

This season’s haul brings his career tally to 144 goals in 98 games since his 2016 debut.

The 15th-placed Swans will finish their season against Geelong on the Gold Coast on Sunday.